Demand outstrips supply of hunting blocks

Some shooters have missed out on competing in the 25th Alexandra Lions Great Easter Bunny Hunt because of a lack of blocks.

The 28 teams, made from a total of 336 hunters, will tomorrow each enter a block of farmland with rifles to take a chunk out of Otago's rabbit population.

Event convener Dave Ramsay, of Alexandra, said ‘‘several'' teams missed out due to demand not matching the availability of blocks.

The lack of blocks was partly due to the biennial Warbirds over Wanaka event, he said.

‘‘The congestion of the traffic and the commitment of that community to their event has an impact on the number of farms available.''

A few of the blocks are near Wanaka, although the majority are in Central Otago.

The increased use of pivot irrigators also ruled out some farms, as rabbits did not like the moisture, he said.

The forecast was for damp weather, which was not ideal, ‘‘although we're hoping for a bit of cloud cover so hunters can get around without being seen''.

There were a lot of rabbits, but the size of blocks ‘‘varied hugely'', he said.

'‘It's just the luck of the draw.''

Tomorrow morning, a ballot would be drawn to designate each team with a block.

The teams will then have until noon on Saturday to shoot, and the rabbits will be displayed and tallied in Alexandra's Pioneer Park that afternoon.

Competitors were from all over New Zealand, with many from Otago and Southland.

As it was the 25th anniversary, there were some ‘‘special prizes'', Mr Ramsay said.

The money raised this year would be donated to the Friends of Dunstan Hospital.

The annual event is run by the Alexandra Lions Club every year as its major fundraiser.

Last year, hunters killed 8439 rabbits.

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